History of the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The genocide of the Jews of Europe: The Holocaust

What is the Holocaust?

The word Holocaust (from Greek ‘holos’ meaning ‘complete’ and ‘kaustos’ meaning ‘burned’) has become the preferred name for the Nazis’ systematic genocide of some 6 million Jews during World War II. The Nazis themselves used the euphemism ‘the Final Solution of the Jewish Question’, while ‘Shoah’ is the contemporary Jewish-Hebrew name for the catastrophe.


The Nazi race policy did not only hit the Jews. Besides the over 6 million Jewish victims, between 100,000-200,000 gypsies were persecuted and murdered. Other non-Aryan victims included Russians and Slavs, and more than 200,000 physically and psychologically disabled Germans were systematically murdered as part of the notorious “Euthanasia Programme’.